SERAP Advocates Legal Support for Whistle-blowers Policy

(Last Updated On: 2017-04-17)

Nahimat Adekoga

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has stressed the need President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure legal backing for his government’s whistle-blowing policy.

SERAP in a statement on Sunday, by its executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni called to approach the National Assembly to seek passing of Whistle-blower Bill.

The body also urged President to save the country from the embarrassment that had trailed ownership of N13 billion recovered by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, and resolve lingering doubts on the fund.

SERAP said in the statement, “The government’s increasing reliance on whistle-blowers’ tips to fight corruption has to be backed by some level of transparency and accountability in the real identities of those claiming recovered cash.

Clearing the doubts surrounding the real identities of those behind the Ikoyi cash haul would demonstrate that the president values transparency over secrecy, provide further encouragement to blow the whistle on governmental corruption, and enhance the public right to know.”

“It’s clear that as the EFCC continues to uncover more suspected looted or ill-gotten cash, those blowing the whistle will need greater level of protection. But without outlawing retaliation and attacks against whistle-blowers, and taking a firm stance on protecting them, the incentive of bounty rewards would be negated, as potential whistle-blowers may be discouraged from performing invaluable public interest service.”

“It shouldn’t be the case that the government knows the risks of whistle-blowing and yet fails to provide the needed legal protection against retaliation and attacks, regardless of whether whistle-blowers are entitled to bounties.”

“The policy of giving whistle-blowers some percentage of recovered loot would seem to be a game changer in the fight against corruption but this government now has to squarely address the significant risks that those who blow the whistle face by urgently working with the National Assembly to ensure the necessary legal backing that would ensure protection against reprisals and attacks.”

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